Early Historical Period : BACKGROUND
The period from 600-325 bc is generally considered to have been a major landmark in the history of India. North India, and particularly the middle Ganga valley (between Allahabad in the west and Bhagalpur in the east), experienced changes of far reaching consequences in political, socio-economic, religious and cultural life.
The period witnessed the rise of heterodox sects, often challenging the ideals of the yajna dominated religious life and the predominance of the brahmin priests, the most outstanding of which were Buddhism and Jainism. These new trends in religious life are contemporaneous with the emergence of territorial states— both monarchical and non-monarchical, of various sizes for the first time in Indian history. The material life is featured by a flourishing agriculture (rice, the most important crop and the introduction of transplantation agriculture), diversified crafts, brisk trade (overland and riverine) and coinage. But the most significant point is the emergence of urban centres in the Ganga valley and some other parts of north India nearly after a millennium since the eclipse of the Harappan civilization.